Homeland

Being Back Home

In the southern part of Greece, in the Peloponese, lies a traditional village, which even though it stands at an altitude of 950 meters, it is situated on the foothill of beautiful colorful mountain, the Parnon filled with chestnuts and walnuts.

This traditional village has the name of Karyes. Karyes is related to the Caryatids, the young girls of Karyes, which are illustrated in the famous monument in the Erechtheion of the Acropolis.

Karyes is also my hometown, my place of birth.

This year, on the 28th of October, a National Day in Greece, also known as “OXI Day”, being in Karyes brought about an extra sence of pride in being a Karyes girl myself.

The day began with everyone’s presence in church for the mass followed by a doxology or a praising the Lord prayer.

The children, all 15 of them, dressed up for the parade to honor the flag and recite the parralel poetry fit to praise the day.

As known Greek tradition goes, lunch was cooked and served for everyone in the square of the village, an event that filled us all with the sence of celebration, unity, sharing, and caring. The plate of the day: cooked goat, a traditional dish that fits the Autumn season. Of course, after food comes dancing, an important part of the celebration.

But what really makes it home is the home itself. Our house in Karyes was build 50 years ago as a traditional house of Karyes. One year ago, my daughter Vivia decided to renovate this house, the Floreico house as we call it. Her grandparents, my parents, never left this house. Thrilled with the renovation they helped in keeping all the details that grandpa, or “pappou” has put in it that mark his style and his life there with grandma or “giagia”.

I feel quite blessed that they are there where they feel that they belong and where I feel will always be home.

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Moving Greece to New York

What an unforgettable experience, a client of ours decided that he wanted his birthday to be Greek themed. The tricky thing was it took place in NY!

We brought Greece to New York literally, from blue donkeys to Greek white dishes for the traditional “opa” breaking.

The main color was blue so it was like we were in the middle of the Mediterranean, it’s true what the say, where there is a will there is a way, bravo Vivia!!

 

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Holy Week in Greece!

Holy Week in Christianity is the week immediately before Easter. Is the last week of the 50 days Lent that leads to Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (of our souls, dreams and spirits)!

This year the Love Floris’ ladies spent it in the Greek islands! Here are some highlights of our great trip and some of our traditions:

Easter eggs dyed red on Good Thursday “Maundy Thursday” symbolize the blood of Christ. They are dyed in a big pot and then shined with olive oil. Following the Easter Tradition , on Holy Saturday’s midnight people in pairs hold an egg in their hand and hit it to their partners’s one to break it, before peeling them off to eat them! Saying at the exact moment of the “crush” that Jesus has resurrected!

Easter sweet cookies /(kulurakia)! A unique taste for both the eyes and the mouth! Can be offered in every house, accompanying Greek coffee or sweetening breakfast time!

Spending “Good Friday” at Prirgos in Santorini was an unforgettable experience. The mourning day of Jesus crucifixion commemorated with fires lit in metal baskets decorating the ledges of every house, offering magnificent view in the evening. The Love Floris’ ladies pay their respect to the icon of the crucified Jesus, felt the smelling surroundings of the Epitaph lilacs in the church. Afterwards tasted traditional pastry “melitini”, in a cozy (and reminding old times) local café at Kasteli, with the personal touch of Ms. Nafsika Lagada.

 

 

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St. Paul’s nunnery in Plaka, Lavrion March 20th, 2015

A special journey this season of lent.

 

This past Friday, my dear friend and I decided to take a little pilgrimage to St. Paul’s Monastery in Plaka near Lavrion. Our desire was to leave the realm of city life for a moment to attend the 4th Salutations to Virgin Mary in peace and stillness. Happily, peace and stillness is what we found. We discovered one of the most magical places in our midst. Just when we thought we could drive no longer (or any further), having been in the car for 60 minutes, we finally saw a small sign pointing to the monastery. We drove up the hill and found its lush gardens that surround and protect the monastery from the outside world, The gardens literally make it invisible from the outside. We entered through the black gate and ascended the stairs to find the main church. Aalthough relatively newly-built, the church was constructed in a classical style similar to older churches.  A basic cruciform plan, with chant stands on either side.  The barrel vault and apse above the altar embrace lovely paintings, newly executed. A few people attended the mass in a pious atmosphere. Psalms were chanted by the nuns and filled the pilgrims’ hearts and souls with feelings of relief and refuge – a kind of esoteric meeting between souls.

 

The monastery, primarily a nunnery, hosts nuns from 13 countries making it a multinational religious point. Besides their religious activities, the dedicated nuns are diligently occupied with farm work and other handicrafts. The fruit of their labour has greatly benefited the monastery and their livelihood – All products produced at the monastery are for sale, visitors can uy products such as cheese, herbs, homemade marmalades & sweets as well as an array of handicrafts.

After we treated ourselves to one of these delicacies, we casted one last look at the breathtaking view the monastic enclosure offers of the Lavrion coast and the city of Athens. Driving away, we were accompanied with the echo of the nuns soft voices singing praise to the Virgin.

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Walking through flavors in the center of Athens…

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Eat like a local!

Have you heard of reductive and inductive methods and the ancient Greeks? I will let you guess the reasoning behind this:

I love “Love Floris”, I love food, “Love Floris” loves food, “Love Floris” loves preparing for Summer 2015, I love preparing for Summer 2015 and we have the best delicacies for you!

“Love Floris” is now ready to take you to a delicious treasure hunt of tempting tastes, secret scents, and arousing aromas. I just finished a fantastic food walk in the center of Athens. I started in the “Agora”, meaning ‘Market” and make my way through town. Every step of the way, and at every stop, I tasted real gems! Even if I had just stayed at the “Agora” to find fresh olives, cheeses, and ethnic charcuterie, I would have been content.

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mouthwatering “Halva”

One of my favorite stops on the tour was at a small café under an ancient arcade where we sat and enjoyed mouthwatering “Halva”. “Halva” or little bites of heaven, as I call it, is a delicious dessert with a long history, and its preparation varies from country to country. When visiting Greece, you must try the Greek version; prepared with semolina, almonds and cinnamon.

We couldn’t resist trying more treats such as tangerine scented marzipan from the island of Hydra, gluten-free skalitsounia from the island of Crete and delicious hand made butter caramels…

Later on we had a heartwarming and mouthwatering meeting with our friend Andreas and his family in their intimate surroundings. We tried the best Greek street food with influences from, Syria, Turkey, Armenia and Lebanon (all cuisines we adore)

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Greek coffee in “hovoli”!

After, we could eat no more, it was time to enjoy a Greek coffee made on Hovoli, a heated sand boiling device, that mimics hot ashes, it is the traditional way to heat Greek coffee. And since the Greek coffee had intrigued our senses we headed to a “Kafekoption” the original coffee shop, where you can find information on the history of coffee, the kind of beans that exist, information on roasting & grinding coffee and coffee preparation and one can choose the perfect blend for your taste!  As we know, blending different varieties of coffee in order to deliver the desired flavor or aroma, is an art.

It is fascinating what is going on with the traditional food market in the center of Athens and we would be absolutely happy to share our passion with our guests, everyone who is interested in discovering Athens our way!